If self-help remedies to stop snoring when you sleep do not help and your snoring is bothering you and others and if you experience any typical symptoms and complications, you should see a sleep specialist.
He will try to identify the causes why you snore through diagnostic tests and put you on the best possible treatment option to stop your snoring immediately and permanently. Treating your snoring is important due to the adverse health complications it can cause.
The diagnostic methods used and the conservative and surgical treatments available are discussed below.
There are various reasons why you snore. It is, therefore, necessary to get yourself investigated to identify the cause of snoring in order to choose the right line of treatment. You could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central sleep apnea (CSA). The diagnosis has to confirm the cause of your snoring so that treatment can be chosen accordingly.
You could be snoring due to a lax palate and uvula that collapses on the airway obstructing it and causing you to snore. It could be a craniofacial abnormality, or a deviated nasal septum or a blocked nasal passage. There are several risk factors too that can come into play.
An x-ray and a CT scan or MRI of your face will inform of any bony abnormality such as a deviated nasal septum or a craniofacial abnormality.
A sleep study called a polysomnography is performed overnight in the hospital. Sensors are attached to the relevant areas of the body and during your night’s sleep The study gives information of ;
- · Brain activity
- · Eye movements
- · Muscle movements
- · Heart activity
- · Breathing
- · Oxygen saturation in the blood
- · How your sleep passes through the various stages of sleep
Once the results of these studies confirm the cause, your sleep doctor and ENT specialist will finalize the course of treatment.
Treatment to stop snoring
Tackle risk factors
Besides treating the cause, there are certain risk factors that make you prone to snore. These also have to be tackled. For example:
- · If you are obese, you must lose weight by sticking to a proper diet and ensure physical activity
- · If you drink alcohol, you must avoid
- · If you smoke, you must give it up
- · If you have a congested nose, treat it.
- · Avoid sleeping on your back.
- · Do not take sleeping pills.
Conservative treatment to stop snoring
Conservative treatment consists of using mechanical means to keep your airway open during your sleep and used in cases of obstructive sleep apnea.
Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP)
CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure is a proven cure for snoring, in which a CPAP machine gently blows air into your nose at a slightly higher adjusted prescribed pressure to keep your airway open.
In people with mild to moderate sleep apnea who cannot use CPAP due to discomfort or some other reason, another remedy for snoring would be to use an oral or dental device or appliance also called a snoring mouthpiece.
This snoring mouthpiece stops snoring by bringing the lower jaw and tongue forward and keeping the airway open. It resembles an athletic mouth guard and various models and sizes are available helping you choose one that fits you best. A full article on these appliances is available here.
Surgical treatment options
When conservative treatments to stop your snoring have failed, surgical intervention may become necessary. Depending on the cause of your snoring, various surgical options are available, which aim at correcting the cause.
- Nasal surgery corrects a deviated nasal septum, which will stop your snoring if it is due to deviated nasal septum.
- Palate implant surgery stiffens and supports a collapsing soft palate. This is done to stop your snoring if a relaxed soft palate collapses and blocks your airway when you sleep.
- UPPP surgery involves removal of part of the uvula, soft palate, tonsils and adenoids, which could be blocking your airway and causing you to snore. Nowadays a laser-assisted procedure is used which is called LAUP by which these excess tissues are removed using a laser.
- Maxillomandibular advancement surgery in which the jaw and the upper teeth are brought forward, realigned and plated into place. This helps to widen the space between the tongue and the palate giving you a more patent airway.